Entry by Jasmeet Kaur: Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz

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The following image shown is of Juana Ines de la Cruz, the author of the play “ Loa to the Divine Narcissus”. This image was a portrait created by Jose Caldevilla, who showcased numerous themes that can be pointed out. The main theme being gender; a theme shown in the painting and Juanas play. To challenge the notion of set stereotypes of men and women whilst bringing forth a new era that celebrates change. During this time period, male authors are often shown in portraits in this similar position. It is quite rare to see a woman hold such a position in a portrait. Reason being is that male authors have dominated the field, and to showcase themselves as a focal point portraits such as these are made. Displaying the dominance and importance they hold in their role at the time. It sends a message within society that Juana has the same role just as other authors of that time and to be recognized as such. The placement in the center was no mistake, it was done to send a message across: she is equal. With her holding a feather pen and book to help emphasize her role as author as well. Other details to notice are the work done around her. The play that she is famously known for (The Divine Narcissus) is depicted significantly around her. On her right side we see a soldier dressed in a typical European outfit to represent Europe. You also see the writing above labeled as “europa”. On her left side we see a hunter in an American Indian outfit which is supposed to represent the Americas of that time. The writing “America” is seen above. This pays homage to the play, as it centered around Europe's colonization of the Americas where many controversial takes were depicted for that time. It was highly significant that such a play was done by a woman as well. Adding to the theme of gender, and challenging existing notions of women playwrights. The placement and intricate details of the image is a challenge itself, which makes it an important image of the 1700s within theatrical contexts.

Author: Jasmeet Kaur

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  • created on
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    106 KB
  • creator
    Caldevilla Jose
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  • rights
    Public Domain
  • rights holder
    New York Public Library